July 8, 2014


Jim Brosnan dies at 84; relief pitcher wrote inside look at baseball (STEVE CHAWKINS, 7/06/14, LA Times)

The relief pitcher known to his teammates as "The Professor" listened to Bartok, read Dostoevsky, sipped martinis and hauled a portable typewriter from stadium to stadium.

Over nine seasons in the majors, Jim Brosnan was a curveball artist who also wrote penetrating, ironic and irreverent books that are seen as the first to deliver a true, warts-and-all insider's view of the national pastime. [...]
His 1960 book, "The Long Season," was praised by legendary sportswriter Red Smith as "a cocky book, caustic and candid, and in a way courageous, for Brosnan calls them as he sees them, doesn't hesitate to name names, and employs ridicule like a stiletto."

Written as a journal, the book took readers with the lanky right-hander during the 1959 season, when he threw for both the Cardinals and the Reds. While he steered clear of writing about players' on-the-road sexual conquests, he shocked a public accustomed to less honesty.

Analyzing his book years later, Brosnan said he had "violated the idolatrous image of big leaguers who have been previously portrayed as models of modesty, loyalty, and sobriety -- i.e., what they were really not like."

Broadcaster and former player Joe Garagiola labeled him "a kooky beatnik."

Brosnan's 1962 book, "Pennant Race," included a passage about getting to the stadium in Cincinnati that he thought was one of his best:

"To get to Crosley Field, I usually take a bus through the old, crumbling streets of The Bottoms. Blacks stand on the corners watching their homes fall down. The insecurity of being in the second division of the National League -- in the cellar -- leaves me. For 25 cents, the daily bus ride gives me enough humility to get me through any baseball game, or season."

Posted by at July 8, 2014 6:59 PM

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